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Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, substance use disorder is a “complex condition in which there is uncontrolled use of substance despite harmful consequence.” Data from 2022 presented by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, indicate that addiction affects over 20 million Americans aged 12 and older. Addiction can be framed as a repeating cycle with different stages. These recurring stages are called a cycle because they generally progress in a repetitive pattern until some form of treatment takes place to intervene and alleviate the addiction.

The Stages of Change 

When referring to the five steps of recovery, people typically reference the transtheoretical model (TTM) or the stages of change model, which was created by Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross in 1983 to help people quit smoking. The TTM operates on the assumption that people do not change behaviors quickly and decisively, but instead change in behavior, especially habitual behavior, occurs continuously through a cyclical process. Based on more than two decades of research, the TTM has found that individuals move through a series of stages in the adoption of healthy behaviors or cessation of unhealthy ones, which are colloquially referred to as the five stages of addiction recovery:

  1. Precontemplation (PC): In this stage an individual has no intent to change behavior in the foreseeable future (defined as within the next 6 months). People in this stage are characterized as resistant, unmotivated, or unaware that their behavior is problematic or produces negative consequences. They tend to avoid information and evade discussion surrounding shifting behaviors.
  2. Contemplation (C): In this stage, individuals openly state their intent to change within the next 6 months. People in this stage are more aware of the benefits of changing but remain keenly aware of the costs. Although they can recognize that their behaviors may be problematic, they may still feel ambivalent toward changing their behaviors.
  3. Preparation (PR): In this stage, people are ready to take action to change within the next 30 days, as they believe that changing their behaviors can lead to a healthier life. People begin to take small steps to support behavior changes.
  4. Action (A): In this stage, people have made recent and overt behavior modifications (defined as within the last 6 months). People may exhibit this by changing their problem behavior or acquiring new healthy behaviors.
  5. Maintenance (M): In this stage, people have sustained their behavior changes for some time (defined as more than 6 months) and are working to consolidate gains secured during the previous stage. People in this stage maintain high levels of self-efficacy and are less frequently tempted to relapse.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.